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Tuesday
Oct152013

Some data on education, religiosity, ideology, and science comprehension

No, this blog post is not a federally funded study. It's neither "federally funded" nor a "study"! Doesn't it bug you that our hard-earned tax dollars pay the salary of a federal bureaucrat too lazy to figure out simple facts like this?

Because the "asymmetry thesis" just won't leave me alone, I decided it would be sort of interesting to see what the relationship was between a "science comprehension" scale I've been developing and political outlooks.

The "science comprehension" measure is a composite of 11 items from the National Science Foundation's "Science Indicators" battery, the standard measure of "science literacy" used in public opinion studies (including comparative ones), plus 10 items from an extended version of the Cognitive Reflection Test, which is normally considered the best measure of the disposition to engage in conscious, effortful information processing ("System 2") as opposed to intuitive, heuristic processing ("System 1").  

The items scale well together (α= 0.81) and can be understood to measure a disposition that combines substantive science knowledge with a disposition to use critical reasoning skills of the sort necessary to make valid inferences from observation. We used a version of a scale like this--one combining the NSF science literacy battery with numeracy--in our study of how science comprehension magnifies cultural polarization over climate change and nuclear power.

Although the scale is designed to (and does) measure a science-comprehension aptitude that doesn't reduce simply to level of education, one would expect it to correlate reasonably strongly with education and it does (r = 0.36, p < .01). The practical significance of the impact education makes to science comprehension so measured can be grasped pretty readily, I think, when the performance of those who have and who haven't graduated from college is graphically displayed in a pair of overlaid histograms:

The respondents, btw, consisted of a large, nationally representative sample of U.S. adults recruited to participate in a study of vaccine risk perceptions that was administered this summer (the data from that are coming soon!).

Both science literacy and CRT have been shown to correlate negatively with religiosity. And there is, in turns out, a modest negative correlation (r = -0.26, p < 0.01) between the composite science comprehension measure and a religiosity scale formed by aggregating church attendance, frequency of prayer, and self-reported "importance of God" in the respondents' lives.

I frankly don't think that that's a very big deal. There are plenty of highly religious folks who have a high science comprehension score, and plenty of secular ones who don't.  When it comes to conflict over decision-relevant science, it is likely to be more instructive to consider how religiosity and science comprehension interact, something I've explored previously.

Now, what about politics?

Proponents of the "asymmetry thesis" tend to emphasize the existence of a negative correlation between conservative political outlooks and various self-report measures of cognitive style--ones that feature items such as  "thinking is not my idea of fun" & "the notion of thinking abstractly is appealing to me." 

These sorts of self-report measures predict vulnerability to one or another reasoning bias less powerfully than CRT and numeracy, and my sense is that they are falling out of favor in cognitive psychology. 

In my paper, Ideology, Motivated Reasoning, and Cognitive Reflection, I found that the Cogntive Reflection Test did not meaningfully correlate with left-right political outlooks.

In this dataset, I found that there is a small correlation (r = -0.05, p = 0.03) between the science comprehension measure and a left-right political outlook measure, Conservrepub, which aggregates liberal-conservative ideology and party self-identification. The sign of the correlation indicates that science comprehension decreases as political outlooks move in the rightward direction--i.e., the more "liberal" and "Democrat," the more science comprehending.

Do you think this helps explain conflicts over climate change or other forms of decision-relevant science? I don't.

But if you do, then maybe you'll find this interesting.  The dataset happened to have an item in it that asked respondents if they considered themselves "part of the Tea Party movement." Nineteen percent said yes.

It turns out that there is about as strong a correlation between scores on the science comprehension scale and identifying with the Tea Party as there is between scores on the science comprehension scale and Conservrepub.  

Except that it has the opposite sign: that is, identifying with the Tea Party correlates positively (r = 0.05, p = 0.05) with scores on the science comprehension measure:

Again, the relationship is trivially small, and can't possibly be contributing in any way to the ferocious conflicts over decision-relevant science that we are experiencing.

I've got to confess, though, I found this result surprising. As I pushed the button to run the analysis on my computer, I fully expected I'd be shown a modest negative correlation between identifying with the Tea Party and science comprehension.

But then again, I don't know a single person who identifies with the Tea Party.  All my impressions come from watching cable tv -- & I don't watch Fox News very often -- and reading the "paper" (New York Times daily, plus a variety of politics-focused internet sites like Huffington Post & Politico).  

I'm a little embarrassed, but mainly I'm just glad that I no longer hold this particular mistaken view.

Of course, I still subscribe to my various political and moral assessments--all very negative-- of what I understand the "Tea Party movement" to stand for. I just no longer assume that the people who happen to hold those values are less likely than people who share my political outlooks to have acquired the sorts of knowledge and dispositions that a decent science comprehension scale measures.

I'll now be much less surprised, too, if it turns out that someone I meet at, say, the Museum of Science in Boston, or the Chabot Space and Science Museum in Oakland, or the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago is part of the 20% (geez-- I must know some of them) who would answer "yes" when asked if he or she identifies with the Tea Party.  If the person is there, then it will almost certainly be the case that that he or she & I will agree on how cool the stuff is at the museum, even if we don't agree about many other matters of consequence.

Next time I collect data, too, I won't be surprised at all if the correlations between science comprehension and political ideology or identification with the Tea Party movement disappear or flip their signs.  These effects are trivially small, & if I sample 2000+ people it's pretty likely any discrepancy I see will be "statistically significant"--which has precious little to do with "practically significant."

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  • Response
    Will he now do a study to document the cognitive biases of the left, their tendency to demean as nearly subhuman all those who disagree with them?

Reader Comments (284)

Curious - has any attribution theorist studied why someone who supports 1. small government 2. fiscal responsibility and 3. individual liberties would be deemed unintelligent or uneducated? I'm also curious why people just accept whatever MSNBC tells them to believe rather than finding out what tea partiers actually believe and support? Maybe that would be a good survey on critical reasoning?

October 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterK_Ann

Have you done a comparison with the Occupy people?

October 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKini

I also have a PhD and hold a high-level position at a major university. The author's main problem is he does not seem to demonstrate any grasp of what the basis of the Tea Party stands for: Taxed Enough Already.

Somehow, he thinks a position on taxation translates into religious beliefs and cognitive abilities. I am truly sickened that academics are engaged in the propaganda war of trying to promote liberal politics with spurious research.

Perhaps we should do a study of financial literacy correlating with political affiliation, and see where we end up? Some before have argues that people choose political views based on their financial situation. This likely has an influence, since many choose liberal positions because of their personal financial interests. Very few people vote for a decrease in their entitlements and very few government employees vote for cutbacks in their own salary and benefits.

One really has to wonder how sample selection is made. Were the large strongholds of left-wing voters in the inner city properly included--areas known to be failing in education?

All in all, it is PATHETIC that researcher would pursue research with the only intent being to belittle a political affiliation. It is theoretically unsound and reminds me of Joseph Goebbels. You should be licked out of Yale for your lack of scientific perspective.

October 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterCharles

Let's see - I have a degree in a hard science and have spent 33 years working in a specialized science field that you probably can't even pronounce. And, gasp, I'm religious. When I'm sitting in the pew I'm surrounded by folks working as engineers, chemists, and a variety of other science fields and my last pastor had multiple advanced degrees, one of which was in genetics.

I'm also a Tea Party person.

Assume much, do you?

October 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterCindy

I am a member of the Tea Party (well, if we really had memberships). I'm a licensed mechanical engineer. Almost every Tea Partier I know is very smart, especially in science and history. The knowledge of history should be very evident when you see book sales on Amazon. For the most part, we have to be well versed in science in order to counteract the large amount of disinformation on issues such as global warming.
I am glad the author here is now aware of how much the media has distorted our beliefs. But if you want to know how and why we think what we think, read Thomas Jefferson, George Washington, Thomas Paine, and the Federalist Papers. It's really as simple as that.

October 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDan

First, thanks for taking the time to study the information. I find the comments here to be as interesting as the study itself. I'll go ahead and admit upfront, you could say I identify with The Tea Party. I wish I had time today to study all the comments, I will come back again. In my experience, I have found that amongst what some on here call the "hardcore," you will find some who continue to study and broaden their view. Most it seems to me though don't take the time to think outside of the box. Some, just like on the left, are just angry at everything. Most are just rational average folks though. Many are small business owners, many are reformed liberals.

Most are christian, however I have come across many more atheists than I would have thought. Enough that it changed my view on atheists, not that it was a negative view before, but it did change it. Usually the local 9/12 meeting will have roughly 50 people in attendance. Half are what you would refer to as regulars, the rest you may see once or twice and then you won't see them for a year or so. I haven't come across any who came to a place where they sided with The Tea Party view and then changed their view later.

I'm just an average guy, holding down a job, going to school, spending time with the wife and kids, go to church weekly, and exercising and reading as often as I can. You said you don't know anyone who identifies with The Tea Party, since I feel your intentions aren't harmful, if someone like me could be of assistance feel free to ask any questions. Thanks again for putting your efforts into this, I look forward to more information.

October 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJW

Let me add an international twist:

I am a Brazilian self-taught Software Engineer. I also taught myself English, to the point where I managed to hold a Cambridge CPE, despite the fact that I've never stepped on anglophonic soil and zero formal training. So my analytic and reasoning faculties seem to be in working order.

Now, with that out of the way, here's why I strongly identify with the Tea Party: in my view, they are right, and they are the US's lifeline. They represent the virtues that led to American Exceptionalism (and YES, this does exist).

I find caricaturing Tea Partiers extremely ironic, and it would be hilarious, weren't it so revolting. In my experience, being a lefty liberal is EASY. It is the default stance of the intellectually lazy. All you have to do is feel (specially "good about myself" kind of feel), and never solve anything. Here's, in my view, why:

I live in the logical endpoint of Fabian socialism. Born to and raised in a culture where the concepts of "right" and "left" are non-existent (I take that back, actually "right" is a language stand-in for "evil"). We have over 30 political parties, and they are all some variant of the left. From Social Democrat parties to "Trotsky-ish" parties. Our *current* constitution, which dates back all the way to the Gun'n' Roses era (1988), is pretty much a Soviet Constitution (1936) copy/paste job. Culturally, the population is in pretty much a state of "1984 meets Brave New World" in terms of ideology.

Brazil is also a country where:

- the utter government control of the private sector trough bureaucracy managed to destroy entrepreneurship. To the point that it exists, it has to deal with the accepted fact of life that the bribes which feed the corrupt bureaucrats demand to allow business to exist have to be factored in business plans.

- a crushing tax burden that sustain a permanent dependent underclass of favelados in welfare ensures the populists remain eternally in power and that any semblance upward mobility is quickly "corrected". For an employer to put 10.000 in the pocket of an employee, with will costs him nearly 18.000, so jobs market are always tepid at best so informal work and tax dodging schemes are commonplace.

- The relentless attack on Catholicism (the historical prevalent brand of Christianity practiced here) over the past decades eroded any semblance of morality form a large chunk of the country, and that coupled with utter corruption and/or incompetence of law enforcement made way for drug cartels to take over. Violence and crime spiraled to such inhuman degrees that between the 50K murders in average a year, this year we saw a soccer referee stab a player to death and then be beheaded and quartered in the field by the spectators for his trouble. His head was placed in a spike in the middle of the field, as an added dramatic bonus (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2357453/Brazilian-referee-beheaded-Angry-fans-head-stake-stabbing-player.html).
This act barely caused a murmur.

I could go on for ages with more evidence of social rot, but you probably already got the gist of it.

Now, remember, being immersed in this cultural cesspool since birth I, like most Brazilians, never even *knew* that this wasn't actually just "the way things are". I mean, we get a gut feeling that something is off, but like Plato's cave dwellers, light is something really frightening and instinctively avoided. And the *obvious* solutions by all the *smart people* are always the same: more government "compassion". More "social programs". More "awareness". Less "greedyness".

Imagine my shock when by a quirk of fate a Mark Levin book ended in my hands. That led me to Burke, Locke, Smith, Mises, Friedman, Hayek and many others. Conservative philosophy is what gave me a glimpse of the shinning city in the hill and a will to fight, along with a battle plan, to improve my lot in life, and of those I can reach.

So, Dan, I understand you are surprised that your results showed Tea Partiers not the raging bufons the media portrays them as being. The most obvious things are often the easiest to miss. But never doubt that being conservative is quite the intellectual effort, if only to overcome the moroseness of the mind that liberalism creates imposes with all its group-think and easy answers.

Best wishes,

Rodrigo

PS: written in a hurry on lunch break, no time to proof-read, so apologies in advance for eventual typos.

October 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterRodrigo Del Cistia Andrade

My conjecture for why the small "identify with the Tea Party" correlation is in the opposite direction from the small "identify as conservative" correlation is that people who reflect upon politics enough to identify with ANY non-mainstream political movement or ideology are a bit likelier than the average politically apathetic person to be "thinkers".

The way to test this hypothesis would be to do a similar study where the questions included a broader range of political movements or philosophies beyond just the liberal/conservative axis and the Tea Party, such as libertarians, socialists, anarchists, Greens, Occupy Wall Street, etc.

October 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterTeri Pettit

Self-interested announcement:

I too do research like Dan Kahan. I have my own panel, and I pay (fairly well, much better than Mturk). If anyone who reads this would like to join my panel, please read

http://www.sas.upenn.edu/~baron/q.html
and send me email with a postal address at
baron@psych.upenn.edu.

Jon Baron

October 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJon Baron

Dan:

I find it very odd you don't know anyone who identifies with the tea party. I'm a full professor of chemistry at a research university, and I identify with the tea party, more or less; I believe in limited government along constitutional principles, federalism, low taxation and spending, etc. Moreover, I know several of my colleagues have similar views.

Chemists are stereotypically more conservative than physicists or biologists, but I know I have at least one quite conservative colleague in physics. And I know one in your chemistry department.

October 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterGerard Harbison

Since you do not know a single Tea Partier, and your perception of their scientific ignorance is largely based on watching leftist news media, is it possible that what you know about Tea Partiers and their objectives might be as wrong as your assumption about their scientific ignorance?

October 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterClayton E.Cramer

Questions to the Tea Party folk as I'm trying to grasp _why_ one associates with the Tea Party.
1) Taxation. Has income tax always been too high or to you, does it seem to have gone up over time? What do you say about the income tax rates vs. the GDP? Are you saying no taxes? Or less taxes? What is the "right" amount of taxes to you?
2) Being religious is being religious. But as you say about the T(axed) E(nough) A(lready) party, why is it that the organization focus so heavily on what it determines as "family values", and those values are really in the eye of the beholder. Why alienate other people while diluting your brand with pushing this type of agenda as well?
3) The TEA part truly about fiscal responsibility? Did the TEA party representatives take $0 from the farm bills, or the many other bills that were passed? What about the jobs bills? The trough is there, why did the inject so much money for their own districts if they were so inclined to balance the budget?

What is fiscal responsibility and a society? If we are to balance the budget, would you be willing to slash $300B a year from the defense department or shut down DHS?

Lastly, how does it make you feel when you hear tea party members talk on camera or have signs raised that say, "Hands off my Medicare"? What have you done to try and affect change in the perception of your group?

October 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterThanh Lim

since this conversation completely devolved...the entire premise "Taxed Enough Already" is a silly misnomer as I understand we are being taxed at historic lows. Do the members of the Tea Party ever demand we spend less on military...the most obvious drain on congressional budgets? No, I never have...they seems to target spending on services that benefit poor and minorities. This can not be denied. They are the frothiest about "takers vs. makers"....my thoughts, some of these people completely imploded when we elected a black president...and they look for all kinds of defense and diversions that at the core of the Tea Party is a hatred of this fact. They elected the dumbest group of politicians ever...and yes, I have talked to elected congressional GOP members that state this as well. I can not accept that intelligent, scientific minded people would be so complicit in the massive dumbing down of this country.

October 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDabbler

Dr. Kahan -

I read with interest your data, conclusions, and especially the tone of the comments. Granted that I (like most I expect) was drawn here by a 'right-wing website' mention, I continue to struggle to understand the visceral response that TEA party affiliation seems to evoke. Like several others who have posted here, I self-identify as a TEA party member. I am a degreed and practicing electrical engineer (in industry, not academia). As others before me have mentioned, I read Burke, Smith, Hayek, Jefferson, Rothbard, among others.

I look forward to following up with your blog to see your reaction to the comments you have received. One of the comments mentioned running ‘TEA party affiliation’ vs. Liberal or Conservative. I would be interested in understanding the connotations of the terms Liberal and Conservative, as well – I personally find these overly constraining.

-best

October 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKen Cramer

I wonder what your results would be if you tested members of Congress? Especially those members on the Science committees? That would be very interesting.

October 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterLynne

I’m an MBA CPA and Tea Party sympathizer (no time for active involvement). I really don’t have strong opinions regarding most social issues such as abortion and gay marriage (my typical response is “let the states decide”).

My Tea Party sympathies derive of what I perceive to be the intellectual inferiority of liberal/progressive economic understanding – specifically, an understanding of “The Fatal Conceit”.The Fatal Conceit was first articulated by the economist FA Hayek (Nobel Prize 1974) to explain the great flaw in liberal / progressive economic thinking. He stated that the systems thinking and design that works so well in other areas of science (such as engineering) cannot be applied to human activities. His ideas were obviously and conclusively proven to be correct when the dozens of efforts at central planning in its many forms (not just communism) collapsed at the end of the 20th century. Yet the liberal / progressive economic mind appears to have internalized none of these lessons, but rather is stuck in a reality-denying ideological world view.

October 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAG

I'll take a stab at Lim's questions, if I may:
1 - The premise is what you seem to be missing. The United States was designed to have nearly ALL of the power reside in the states. Taxation at the Federal level was primarily to come from duties and levies. The problem is that as nearly every country on the planet has discovered, the larger the number of people you are trying to 'rule', the bigger nearly everything has to be. Had we stuck to the original concept and not extended nearly everything to fall under the interstate commerce clause of the constitution, the individual states would have determined, based on the needs and desires of the people, what laws and programs were established. A good example of how silly Federal law is in most cases is the law requiring low-flow toilets. Certainly, people in areas with little water, such as California, are happy to use less. But how much water do they get by requiring people in Michigan or Minnesota (the land of 10,000 lakes) to use less? It makes more sense to let the states make these decisions for the people within those states. The RIGHT amount of taxes is the amount needed to fund the basic requirements of a federal government that is limited in it's power over the people of the many states. Personally, outside of Defense, Justice and State (remember? Establish Justice, Domestic Tranquility, Common Defense, General Welfare - not specific welfare - and securing the blessings of LIBERTY - these are the ONLY areas the federal government is to be involved in) pretty much everything else falls to the states. I think it's upside down now - we should not have to pay more than 6 or maybe 7% to the federal government - social programs should fall to the state to fund and maintain. In other words, it lets us move government to the lowest level possible. What's the right amount? The least amount possible within the boundaries of the Constitution.

2. Again, premise seems to elude you - what makes you believe that moral issues are not connected to government and especially to taxes? Taking (many times, literally at the point of a gun - the Treasury has a HUGE armed police force) is taking. Forcing anyone to put their beliefs aside for the 'good' of others, is wrong, isn't it? Why is it that tolerance of belief is ONLY a one-way thing - in other words, we MUST tolerate all life-styles/choices, all beliefs but if you believe in, say, creation, you are not allowed or if you are a fundamentalist Christian, that somehow you must be vilified? Once again, when you try to legislate EVERYTHING at a federal level instead of allowing the local governments to do what their populations need, you cannot possibly avoid damaging some communities and belief systems. Wouldn't it make more sense to allow the standards of a community to have more influence than the standards of people who have never been in that community? For proof of this pudding, consider that nearly all laws written at the Federal level are aimed at addressing issues that are almost exclusively issues only for those who live in cities. However, since the federal government can't write laws for the cities only, those same laws that may be attempting to address an inner-city issue now fall onto the country dweller who doesn't need or want that level of control. The point is, that morality absolutely can NOT be separated from politics. The only people who believe that the two can be separated are those who disagree with the morality of the people they see as the 'other side'. Let's face it - you can defeat any opposition if you make it illegal or socially unacceptable to hold or state a particular belief (see the book 'Rules for Radicals' by Saul D. Alinsky). That's why the TEA party is, just like the Democrat and Republican parties, ideologically inclined to include their beliefs in their governance. One more question, on this: Why do you not question the pro-abortion stance of the left as 'diluting your brand'? Abortion is a moral stand, regardless of which side you take. This question can be asked about nearly EVERY stand either side makes, whether gay rights, or abortion or gun rights or whatever - each has a moral component to one of the sides. It is immoral and unethical to only consider one side's moral and ethical considerations.

3. I don't believe any of our representatives actually take money FROM the BILLS they sponsor. However, you may be asking if they are taking money from those who want bills passed. First, whether right or wrong, if the money is not coming directly from the federal treasury to the representative (illegal), then it is not impacting the budget directly. Having said that, the simple answer is this: If we don't like what our representatives are doing, WE have to vote them out. Also, if someone is elected office breaks the law, they should be removed. Period. These are just people. They aren't any more special than you or me. Party affiliation has nothing to do with whether they are (pardon the expression) douche-bags. Just because someone relates themselves to the Tea Party does not mean they are smart, moral, ethical, honest, or anything else any more than someone who relates themselves to the Democrat party is any of those things. I guess I would have to ask why you think it is ok for everyone ELSE in congress and the Senate to take that money but not the Tea Partiers? Are you saying that it's silly to want to balance the budget or live within our means? That is what is implied when you ask why someone on the right might hold those beliefs, but be dipping into the trough. The reality is that if they do this, they are thieves. I do not like thieves and will not vote for thieves. I would HOPE that you don't either, regardless of party or 'nametag'.

Finally, society has a responsibility to those who come after us. This is the mantra of the global warming crowd. So why does that same crowd seem to have such a hard time understanding that the even more immediate threat of an overarching federal government, crush debt, spiraling taxes, massive government regulation on every aspect of life, and the apparent establishment of a police state (been keeping up with the NSA, DHS, IRS, CIA, FBI scandals?) is so much more real and absolutely impactful on our immediate descendants than climate change over the next 1000 years? I am stunned that we even have to have this discussion! Are Tea Partiers concerned about their government? You betcha! I want to know why you are not!

As to your last questions: Maybe we can cut some from defense. But remember, 'Provide for the common defense' is one of the core attributes of the federal government. DHS is not. Let the people protect themselves. Remember, 9-11 would not have happened if even a small number of the people on those planes had been armed. The government themselves agree with this because shortly after 9-11, we increased the number of 'armed' flight marshals. The DHS has proven itself an expensive and largely useless appendage that duplicates nearly everything that is done in other departments. If it were shut down tomorrow, we would not be any less safe or able to tell the difference except by the uniforms of those making sure my shoes are safe at the airport. Don't believe me? Go actually look up what those '50' terrorist events that the DHS supposedly stopped actually consist of. Most were stopped, not by the DHS, but by the public. I trust my fellow man more than I do the DHS. Finally, Medicare. You do realize that this is only a discussion point because the federal government took the option away from seniors in 1965. Prior to Medicare, you got your own health insurance and kept it until you died, or you paid for your care out of your pocket. Now, it's an entitlement. The problem with giving the government control of ANYTHING is that once they have it, you lose the security of knowing it will always be there in the form you need it. All it takes is a financial crisis and enough votes to make it go away or change it. If this were NOT true, nobody would be worried that their entitlements would be changed. Get the federal government OUT of the entitlement business. Let the states determine what their people want and are willing to pay for instead of making it illegal to not be a part of a monstrous federal program. No, it doesn't address the question of those who can't afford to buy insurance - I realize that - but as nearly everyone has observed, the entitlement is unsustainable in the long run. I think Margaret Thatcher once said something along the lines of (and I'm paraphrasing here): The problem with socialism is that pretty soon you run out of other people's money. Entitlements could be substituted easily in place of socialism in that quote and it would be true.

Hope this helps - I'm glad you're seeking knowledge and I hope this helps in your journey...

October 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDoug

Quick question:

What is the model you used to achieve these results. I looked over your paper and it appears that the number you're using for Conserepub is model 2 from the ordered logistic regression analysis of CRT scores.

This value has a number of controls, (Male, white, income, education, religiosity). Now normally we would say that the value we find for the coefficient is the "all things equal" estimator but because i can't tell precisely what test you're using its hard to say what the precise interpretation of the value is.

It seems reasonable for instance that this might be happening. People who are in the tea party are far far less likely to be on the liberal side of conserepub. Because of this the interpretation for the tea party stat isn't measuring the difference between the tea party and others, but between the tea party and non-tea party heavily republican people.

I.E. it could very well be that we have a simple interpretation error because while the coefficient is similar, we've already incorporated most of the explanatory power in other values

Other possibilities include regional explanations, selection bias, and "scale bias".

WRT: Regional Explanations. It is possible that because region isn't controlled for that "tea party" people in some areas are different than "tea party people" in other areas. Just as many southern states have and still have a large contingent of "democrats" who are essentially republicans.

WRT Selection errors: If anyone knew that the study would be testing science related information and similarly knew they were bad at or might reflect poorly on their particular ideology differences in the rates at which those less able declined to take the study and more able accepted to take the study as well as the variance in the relative populations could also have the observed effect.

WRT Scale Bias: I am not particularly sure how you scaled the aggregate for your conserepub value and for your tea party value. But if your "conserepub" value was not normalized from 0 to 1 then the value you're looking at having an effect from conservatives is for a "very small step down the line to conservatiism" and the value you're looking at for the tea party is "a very large step from non to tea". If this is the case the majority of the tea party effect would be captured in the conserepub value and the break from liberal to conservative is then much larger than the break from conservative tea party to non-conservative tea party

If you're looking for explanations it might be good to start in a few of these places. If you don't find anything then you've certainly got an interesting find here

Aside: Did you do any Bayesian analysis here for your model selection?

Full Disclosure: I am a trained economist and generally think that the Tea Party is very misguided and poorly informed on the majority of social and economic issues. I am not sure whether or not they're any better or worse than the general population at these sorts of tests because the general level of expertise required to understand why their positions are so foolish exempts the vast majority of population. This is true even of economists since expertise in fields will tend to drive people away from cataloging arguments that have already been passed by the wayside

October 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDale

Dear Professor Kahan: By using the misleading word "variety" when mentioning that you read Huffington Post and Politico (both left liberal sites) I think you are misleading not only your readers, but yourself. Try Real Clear Politics, which has a spectrum of comments, if you would really like to read a dissenting voice or two, or at least an articulate article by someone who disagrees with you.

October 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJanet Rae Montgomery

Wow, what shill wrote this one?

since this conversation completely devolved...the entire premise "Taxed Enough Already" is a silly misnomer as I understand we are being taxed at historic lows.

Completely untrue. In 1913, Congress unconstitutionally delegated a power it did not have (to "Emit Bills of Credit") to the newly-created Federal Reserve in the dead of night on December 23 (when all the western Senators and Congressmen were undoubtedly on trains back to their districts and couldn't stop the hijack of the nation.) In the same year, the Income Tax was instituted, and it started out only on those with high incomes (not the middle class) and at only a few percent. Of course, both of these things are right out of the Central Platform of the Communist Manifesto -- Plank 2: A steep progressive income tax, and Plank 5: A central bank with all credit creation under the control of the State. Both of these things happened here in the united States *FOUR YEARS BEFORE* the Bolshevik revolution. And the U.S. has been *pwned* ever since.


Do the members of the Tea Party ever demand we spend less on military...the most obvious drain on congressional budgets? No, I never have...they seems to target spending on services that benefit poor and minorities. This can not be denied.

Uh, yeah. It can be denied. Yes, the "tea party" has a very strong contingent of people who are dead tired of spending our blood and treasure (bought at the cost of usury to the banking cartel -- interest on the deficit) for wars which only profit the elite. Hello? Afghanistan? Opium war? What banks are laundering the hundreds of billions in untraceable drug cash that is generated since Afghanistan became the world's largest exporter of opium?

Even so, the military is NOT the most obvious drain on congressional budgets. Social Security and Medicare *far* outweigh even the military budget. But the distinction is irrelevant. The amount of new debt being taken on every year has now exceeded the GDP, a situation which will implode sooner rather than later. Then the only government "services" anyone, *especially* the poor and minorities, is going to receive is a boot to the neck and bullet to the back of the head.


They are the frothiest about "takers vs. makers"....my thoughts, some of these people completely imploded when we elected a black president...and they look for all kinds of defense and diversions that at the core of the Tea Party is a hatred of this fact.

I find this personally to be the most offensive "argument" put forth by the Trotskyites in the media. The continual attempt to demonize those who find both the President and Attorney General to be lawless thugs (hanging a US Ambassador out to dry to cover up illegal arms shipments to Syria? Selling illegal guns to Mexican drug lords to bootstrap a justification for gun confiscation?) misses one fundamental point -- IT IS NOT THE COLOR OF THEIR SKIN THAT IS REPREHENSIBLE, BUT THE CONTENT OF THEIR CHARACTER. Or lack thereof.

They elected the dumbest group of politicians ever...and yes, I have talked to elected congressional GOP members that state this as well. I can not accept that intelligent, scientific minded people would be so complicit in the massive dumbing down of this country.

This is rich, given that the "Deliberate Dumbing Down of America" (ref. same title by Charlotte Iserbyt, or "Dumbing Us Down" by John Taylor Gatto) is a "progressive" project that has been ongoing for decades, reaching its apotheosis in posts like yours.

October 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDB

I just wanted to point this out. You said that you don't personally know any TEA Party members. My question is this:

If anybody you knew was a TEA Party member, would this person have the feeling that he/she could tell you?

There is such hatred against members nowadays from so many liberals and media members. Admit a correlation, and everybody immediately assumes that you're stupid, ugly, worthless, and dangerous. It's the quickest way I can think of to ensure that nobody listens to you or takes anything you say seriously, even if you have a genuinely intelligent and interesting viewpoint to share.

It's possible that you have met more TEA Party members than you think you have...

October 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterGothelittle Rose

@Dale

You clearly are the one misguided. Did you read any of the comments that were posted?

Typical...Living in your bubble you cannot accept that any opinion expressed that differs from you own is viable. You dismiss ideas based on who is offering the ideas. Isn't there a word for that? (starts with a b IIRC...)

October 18, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterrhett

My wife and I associate ourselves with the Tea Party. We are in our 70's, college educated, and consider ourselves active Christians and scientifically aware. I am not surprised that you don't know any people who associate themselves with the Tea Party. The Left has denigrated the Tea Party so much that many would not admit their association to you for fear of public ridicule. On the other hand you don't seem to realize that the Tea Party is not a political party but rather a movement of common people who feel that the Government has taken to large a place in our lives. Most of us are worried that the constant increase in Government size and control over our lives along with a huge increase in expenditures that has increased our national debt to a point where it can never be reduced to any appreciable level. We believe our debt will eventually reach a level where the government can not fulfill its promises. This will result in riots in the cities when all the many subsidies can no longer be doled out. Tea Party people don't ask people who inquire about what we stand for what their political affiliation is. We want to know how they feel about the size of Government, our constitution, whether the Federal Government should be involved in Education, Health Care, Energy, Marriage, etc. Why should people who believe the ACA should not be implemented when it was forced through without having been read, without people having any understanding as to what the unintended consequences would be, with the costs being completely misrepresented be branded as kooks, terrorists, jihadists and traitors. If our representatives use every legal means possible to prevent implementation do they deserve to be pilloried?

October 18, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterctyank

Full Disclosure: I am a trained economist and generally think that the Tea Party is very misguided and poorly informed on the majority of social and economic issues. I am not sure whether or not they're any better or worse than the general population at these sorts of tests because the general level of expertise required to understand why their positions are so foolish exempts the vast majority of population. This is true even of economists since expertise in fields will tend to drive people away from cataloging arguments that have already been passed by the wayside

"I am a trained economist" immediately torpedoes your "argument". Why? Because, more likely than not it means: a) Your schooling (I hesitate to use the word "education") indoctrinated you with the fallacy-as-holy-writ that Keynesian economics is "the way things are supposed to be", and that, b) That schooling was more likely than not financed through various organizations and tax-exempt foundations, including and especially the 12 privately-owned Federal Reserve "Banks", who have a vested interest in promoting that skewed view of reality.

What I find most exasperating about economists and lawyers in today's dadaesque academic environment is the fact that none of them can correctly answer the question, "Under U.S. Law, what *is* a "Dollar", and where is it defined in the Constitution and Public Laws?" (Yes, this question does have a concrete, correct answer.) People who do not understand the answer to this basic question have no business casting aspersions of "foolish positions" on others.

October 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDB

Is the analysis taken any further beyond simply looking at the correlation coefficient? Without accounting for various confounding factors, both observable and unobservable, it is difficult, if not irresponsible, to suggest that we can make any sort of inference about whether or not individuals of one political ideology comprehend science (or any subject for that matter) more so than their political counterpart(s). And to be clear, my question is not politically motivated. I am truly curious how endogeneity is controlled for given that a vast array of individuals are drawing causal conclusions on the basis of these, seemingly preliminary, results.

October 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterD_E

Everyone knows warmingists are fools.

October 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterRich Grise

I'm curious - what exactly do you understand the "Tea Party Movement" to stand for?

October 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDave

I find it disconcerting that anyone of intelligence forms opinion of others based upon whats they get from other, and not firsthand experiences.

October 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJLS

'JLS' added Some data on education, religiosity, ideology, and science comprehension:

"I find it disconcerting that anyone of intelligence forms opinion of others based upon whats they get from other, and not firsthand experiences."

Admittedly I've never met an actual warmingist, but all the words I hear them say or that I read tell me that each of them has been a nincompoop. Please forgive my previous generalization.

October 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterRich Grise

Mr Kahan: Sure hope you've been able to take the time to read the comments you've received. Many written by people that don't fit the MSNBC narrative.
The Tea Party is more diverse than you may have realized. I am an agnostic libertarian/classical liberal. And a former Democrat. I left the party when I realized that they were more concerned with moral posturing than true compassion. True compassion looks for solutions that work. The proof is the failure of the big blue cities and states. What they are doing isn't working.
Friendly tip - don't bet a lot of money on ObamaCare working either.

October 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKLSmith

I think your study would have more relevance if you would compare the tea party identifiers and the general sample as to those who were veterans, believed in god, the educational level and if they were ever arrested.,

October 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBob

One commentor suggested that the Tea Party members are "wealthier" than others. Not necessarily true. I know a lot of them who earn much less than one would assume because they have other interests besides making a lot of money.

Many spend their own money on research projects, self publish books, or volunteer for various causes with no compensation sought or received. It is a labor of love, not personal gain.

Also, among my Tea Party member friends and supporters, are tons of college degrees, many nationally known authors, scholars and teachers, including several top scholars in religious ethics and in national security law.

Oh, did I mention that a lot of them are combat veterans of Vietnam, Iraq and/or Afghanistan, including at least one POW and several Medal of Honor recipients? Not even counting the Silver and Bronze stars or Purple Hearts.

There are truck drivers, elementary school teachers and college profs, businessmen and women, chemists, writers/authors (including several national bestsellers and pioneering works in history/international affairs, etc), those involved in environmental affairs long before it was en vogue, and computer systems managers, among many other types of work skills.

The Tea Party people "are America", a real cross-section of the heart of what makes America such an exceptional country. Religion is not a factor except that they have a religious basis regarding their behavior; race is not a factor because the issues concerned cut across all the people of this country; ethnic backgrounds are for jokes, not politics; and "gender issues" are irrelevant because some of the most talented, respected leaders of the Tea Party are women.

When one comes down from an Ivory Tower and walks into the real world below, they will suffer a "culture shock" because they will have actually come out of an artifically constructed cocoon for the "educational elite".

If you don't believe me, when your sink needs fixing, do you call an English professor or a Master Plumber? If your answer is "Master Plumber", then you have now entered the "Real World Zone", a world populated by "Tea Partiers" and others who have just as many college degrees as the liberal elite, plus real world experience from Vietnam to Afghanistan, from Hurricane Katrina and Sandy to the San Francisco earthquake (who rescued all those people from collapsed buildings and highways?), and to the rebuilders of tornado-ravaged Joplin, Missouri.

America is made up of good, hardworking, educated people (by life or schooling) who do not live in Ivory Towers. They are not dumb, uneducated illiterates, un-artistic, beering swilling, gun-toting religious fanatics.

In most places (except in the world of Ivory Towers), they are the people next door, the people the academic world rarely gets to meet and mingle with. They are America.

October 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMax Friedman

What is comic is that you consider psychology to be a "science", or that you consider these sorts of bizarre exercises in statistics, and mindless pseudo-empiricism to be somehow a "scientific undertakings" in the first place. Here we see how low our culture and civilization has fallen.

Pseudo-science? No,it is not even that: this is really nothing but Scientism. It is a but a step away from oracles and goat entrails.

If a Physicist or a Chemist came up with this sort of gobbledygook they would be laughed straight off the dais.
It cannot face the most basic intellectual scrutiny.

The prattle about "actively open-minded thinking" or "longitudinal design" is risible, or would be if such imbecility did not have the effects on the vile lunacy we now term "governmental policy" . It cannot withstand even the most basic level of informed critical analysis.

Such hilarity.

What is really revealed here is the mixture of broad ignorance and arrogance--not to mention cultivation--of the so-called "Scientist" of our times.
What ill-educated and uncivilized loons.

One wonders how real science can survive such people.

October 18, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterhattip

@rhett

Yes i have read the comments and well has had many similar discussions. As well as Hayek, and Rothbard, and Nozick, and Locke, and Smith, and Ricadro, and yes even Keynes and Marx. My comments were methological, not ideological. I do not care about whatever argument you want to have about the tea party, i care only about ensuring the data is good. That is why i did not respond to anyone elses comment

I stated my biases with regards to the finding because it is good practice to do so. So that Dr Kahan can properly weigh them when examining what I had to say. If i wanted to appear to make my "case" stronger(if you could call what i said a "case"), i would have not laid bare my biases.

October 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDale

The acknowledgement of bias is a good thing. Also, the acknowledgement that the general population, and however obliquely, progressives/socialists/statists might be worse, is also good.

What rankles is a hypothesis that smacks of the scientific equivalent of "So, when did you stop beating your wife?"

And, at least theoretically, as a matter of Law, the "tea party" position on the Constitution in general, and especially as it pertains to monetary issues *should* be apolitical. The Supreme Law of the Land is the supreme law of the land. However, given that the Rule of Law no longer exists in these united States (and hasn't for a *long* time), it is understandable that it might be considered "misguided" to wish for its return, given the attendant changes it would entail for the entrenched kleptocracy (again, most of the administrations back to the traitor Wilson) and their bootlicks.

But the average "tea partier" is not only not "poorly informed" about the "majority of social and economic issues", they understand them *entirely too well*, that they are almost universally caused by the breakdown in honest money, sound banking, and the rule of law, and they are absolutely cognizant of what they are promoting.

I would challenge you to find out -- "What *is* a Dollar". The answer will surprise you.

October 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDB

@Thanh Lihm:

"Has income tax always been too high or to you, does it seem to have gone up over time?"
The second, due to looking at the actual historical tax brackets. The civil war was the first period where the U.S. had a federal income tax (1862-1972). Initially, there were only two brackets, 3% and 5%. At the peak rates, there were three, 5%, 7.5%, and 10%, and at its lowest, there was only one at 2.5%.
Then in 1894 the federal government started the first ever peacetime income tax, with the rate at 2%, which was ruled unconstitutional by the SCOTUS the following year (Pollock v. Farmers' Loan & Trust Co., April 8th, 1895).
The current income tax began in 1913. These were the brackets for 1913-1915:
1.0%: $0 - $20,000 (2013 dollars: $0 - $463,826)
2.0%: $20,000 - $50,000 (2013 dollars: $463,826 - $1,159,566)
3.0%: $50,000 - $75,000. (2013 dollars: $1,159,566 - $1,739,348)
4.0%: $75,000 - $100,000 (2013 dollars: $1,739,348 - $2,319,131)
5.0%: $100,000 - $250,000 (2013 dollars: $2,319,131 - $5,797,828)
6.0%: $250,000 - $500,000 (2013 dollars: $5,797,828 - $11,595,657)
7.0%: $500,000+ (2013 dollars: $11,595,657+)
Even during the periods historically high tax rates, taxes were much lower for most people. Take 1936, as FDR's first term was coming to an end, for example:
4.0%: $0 - $4,000 ($0 - $66,070)
8.0%: $4,000 - $6,000 ($66,070 - $99,105)
9.0%: $6,000 - $8,000 ($99,105 - $132,140)
10.0%: $8,000 - $10,000 ($132,140 - $165,176)
11.0%: $10,000 - $12,000 ($165,176 - $198,211)
12.0%: $12,000 - $14,000 ($198,211 - $231,246)
13.0%: $14,000 - $16,000 ($231,246 - $264,281)
15.0%: $16,000 - $18,000 ($264,281 - $297,316)
17.0%: $18,000 - $20,000 ($297,316 - $330,351)
19.0%: $20,000 - $22,000 ($330,351 - $363,386)
21.0%: $22,000 - $26,000 ($363,386 - $429,456)
23.0%: $26,000 - $32,000 ($429,456 - $528,562)
25.0%: $32,000 - $38,000 ($528,562 - $627,667)
28.0%: $38,000 - $44,000 ($627,667 - $726,772)
31.0%: $44,000 - $50,000 ($726,772 - $825,878)
35.0%: $50,000 - $56,000 ($825,878 - $924,983)
39.0%: $56,000 - $62,000 ($924,983 - $1,024,088)
43.0%: $62,000 - $68,000 ($1,024,088 - $1,123,194)
47.0%: $68,000 - $74,000 ($1,123,194 - $1,222,299)
51.0%: $74,000 - $80,000 ($1,222,299 - $1,321,404)
55.0%: $80,000 - $90,000 ($1,321,404 - $1,486,580)
59.0%: $90,000 - $100,000 ($1,486,580 - $1,651,755)
62.0%: $100,000 - $150,000 ($1,651,755 - $2,477,633)
64.0%: $150,000 - $200,000 ($2,477,633 - $3,303,511)
66.0%: $200,000 - $250,000 ($3,303,511 - $4,129,388)
68.0%: $250,000 - $300,000 ($4,129,388 - $4,955,266)
70.0%: $300,000 - $400,000 ($4,955,266 - $6,607,022)
72.0%: $400,000 - $500,000 ($6,607,022 - $8,258,777)
74.0%: $500,000 - $750,000 ($8,258,777 - $12,388,165)
76.0%: $750,000 - $1,000,000 ($12,388,165 - $16,517,554)
77.0%: $1,000,000 - $2,000,000 ($16,517,554 - $33,035,108)
78.0%: $2,000,000 - $5,000,000 ($33,035,108 - $82,587,770)
79.0%: $5,000,000+ ($82,587,770+)
As you can plainly see, either the vast majority of us are overwhelmingly poorer than our grandparents and great-grandparents, or the vast majority of us are taxed far more on our income than our grandparents and great-grandparents were at our age (which may explain the massive wealth gap between the oldest and youngest generations)

"What do you say about the income tax rates vs. the GDP?"
Besides that the income tax revenue to GDP ratio hasn't changed significantly since the early 1940s no matter what was done with the tax rates?

"Are you saying no taxes?"
To have a government you must have taxes of some sort, and anarchists typically only associate with the Tea Party to try to convert people.

"Or less taxes?"
Duh

"What is the "right" amount of taxes to you?"
To suggest that there's a "right" amount of taxes, is to suggest that taking taxes at all is "right", rather than simply a necessity. There is no such thing as a good tax, or a good level of taxes. Taxes are always bad (unless you're a violent sociopath or a property-hating communist), because they always require a coercive confiscation of justly obtained property. But we can at least be reasonable. As Joseph Priestley wrote in his Principles of Legislation, the goal of the legislators should be to both ensure that the evil they try to correct is in fact evil, and also that the means by which they would correct it is less evil than what it is they are trying to correct. To be more specific, make sure that government expenses help more than the taxes hurt. Which, considering how much of the budget is allocated to waging unwarranted wars of aggression, is pretty damned unlikely at the moment.

"Being religious is being religious. But as you say about the T(axed) E(nough) A(lready) party, why is it that the organization focus so heavily on what it determines as "family values", and those values are really in the eye of the beholder. Why alienate other people while diluting your brand with pushing this type of agenda as well?"
Granted, I haven't been to a rally in some time, and the only rallies I've been to have been local, but we've pretty much focused on the government spending too damned much of our money. That's not to say that probably a good many among us do also hold these positions, but sure as hell not me. And it's not like these ideas are exclusive to limited government types - I've met outright socialists who are big on traditional values.

"The TEA part truly about fiscal responsibility? Did the TEA party representatives take $0 from the farm bills, or the many other bills that were passed? What about the jobs bills? The trough is there, why did the inject so much money for their own districts if they were so inclined to balance the budget?"
Is the Democratic Party truly about peace, human rights, and social justice? Did the Democratic representatives vote to give the president authority to wage unwarranted wars of aggression, to continue the systematic spying on Americans via the patriot act, and to cartelize the health insurance industry and guarantee them profits by fining anyone (living above the level of bare sustenance) who can't afford or otherwise refuses to purchase their inflated new offerings? Sometimes we elect liars. Sometimes we elect idiots. And sometimes they throw us just enough bones to make it hard to realize they're liars or idiots.

"What is fiscal responsibility and a society? If we are to balance the budget, would you be willing to slash $300B a year from the defense department or shut down DHS?"
$300B? Seems a bit steep, but I'm sure we could manage it if we'd stop waging unnecessary wars of aggression. And hell yeah, DHS has got to go.

"Lastly, how does it make you feel when you hear tea party members talk on camera or have signs raised that say, "Hands off my Medicare"? What have you done to try and affect change in the perception of your group?"
I realize that just because a person doesn't like taxes doesn't mean they have an intelligent reason not to like taxes. But then, I've noticed that few democrats have an intelligent reason to like or dislike much of anything.

October 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterNate Fries

@Dabbler:

"since this conversation completely devolved...the entire premise "Taxed Enough Already" is a silly misnomer as I understand we are being taxed at historic lows."
Unless you are a multi-millionaire, this is false. While the extremely wealthy are being taxed at historic lows (at least if only the last century is considered); the working poor, the middle class, and the mildly wealthy are all being taxed at historic highs. I refer you to my previous post in response to Thanh Lihm. And there is nothing inherently wrong with the extremely wealthy being taxed at historic lows. If you ask me, nobody should have to hand over more than half of everything they earn to anyone, no matter how much excess income they may have. But the working poor shouldn't be handing over 10-15% of their income to the government, either, and the middle class shouldn't be handing over 25% of their income. It should piss you off, it's inhumane.

October 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterNate Fries

Conservative Tea Partier here. Also Prep school and Public University Grad with a Bachelor of Science in Economics. Also watch Fox News, deplore the mainstream media. I don't understand why you'd think people that stand solely for fiscal responsibility would be less scientifically literate. It seems obvious that people who understand you can't spend more than you make indefinitely before terrible things happen have a basic grasp on obvious truths of the way basic things work.

October 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterHenry G.

Oh Henry...

The general level of expertise required to understand why your position is so foolish requires more extensive brainwa-- training.

Unfortunately, the margin of this blog is too narrow to contain the solution. (Oh wait, it took another 300 years for Fermat...)

October 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDB

Even a child knows that perceiving that you have knowledge does not mean you actually have knowledge. As an outsider looking at US, I cannot help feeling that liberals think that the human mind is boundless and its ability to acquire and comprehend knowledge is limitless- very much a faith statement. I suspect that their feeling of self supremacy makes them think that they are more knowledgable than those who do not agree with them. Those who insist that others should be politically 'correct' and yet claim to to be so 'above' others in intelligence do not realize their own double standard. IQ and knowledge tests may have their faults but they are always more faulty when the the results go against the liberals! Oh they are ssssoooo smart! Ssssoooo sorry to those who do not like the results. Ssssoooo sorry too that there may never be people with limitless and boundless minds to do surveys.

October 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMy2cents

i hope someone is taking notes, because the way this is going everyone involved with the tea party will have commented on here by the end of the weekend

October 18, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterzs

Ha! Not even close.

However, rest assured that the NSA is doing collection here, to be used as evidence in a court of kangaroo.

October 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDB

...or unlawful domestic drone strike.

October 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDB

Mr. Kahan

I noted your interest in cultural cognition studies. I'd love to share the evolution of my personal perspective with you because it seems pertinent to your field of study. I'm a practicing physician at an academic institution involved in research, specializing in breast imaging. Brought up in a Democratic household, I was essentially apolitical until about a dozen years ago, as prior to that my education, training and young children consumed my time. I've devoted my career to the detection and diagnosis of breast cancer. The peer reviewed literature in this field has proven, with the gold standard of prospective randomized controlled trials spanning decades involving hundreds of thousands of women in North America and Europe, a decrease in breast cancer deaths in those women screened, including women in their forties, confirmed by meta analysis. The left leaning New York Times has choosen to ignore the science and mislead/confuse its readers and continues to do so today, as does the US Preventative Service Task Force. This surprising and disappointing realization led me to question everything else the New York Times and liberal media was pushing, and explore other points of view. After critical evaluation of available information, I've concluded that the tea party philosophy of small goverment and personal liberty has proven through history to be most beneficial to society as a whole. I hope you will be honest and curious enough to explore for yourself.

October 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDCMD

And let's get out there ahead ot the crowd -- <sarcasm>"tea party" opposition to the new DHS nominee is obviously because he's the wrong color, not because he's a Roosevelt Institute-associated political appointee who gave garbage legal justification for drone strikes on innocent women and children and U.S. citizens overseas.</sarcasm>

October 19, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDB

You write that "science comprehension magnifies cultural polarization over climate change". Perhaps that's due to the disdain shown by the warmist community toward the scientific method. While no doubt many on both sides of the issue see it primarily through ideological blinders, there are many of us who understand that "post hoc, ergo propter hoc" is a common logical fallacy and reject the claim that correlation proves causation. We object to the attempted politicization of science by warmists who attempt to substitute a popular vote or "consensus" of interested parties for scientific proof in the form of accurate predictions. Warmists' consistent refusal to release raw temperature data, data "correction" methodologies and simulation source code provides the appearance, if not the substance of impropriety. This is NOT how science works.

Now, I'm not a poster-child for the "flat-earther" label that warmists like to hang on anyone who questions their methods, conclusions and/or integrity. I'm a firm believer in evolution; I own a copy of Richard Dawkins "The Ancestor's Tale" and suspect that even the most ardent fundamentalist would find their belief shaken if they took the time to read and understand it. But I also believe that expensive public policy initiatives should be based on proven facts rather than speculation. Ironically, the movement I find most similar to Warmism is Creationism. Both are flagrant attempts to slather a thin venier of scientific jargon on an unproven (and perhaps unprovable) hypothesis in an attempt to garner unearned respectibility for it.

October 19, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSapient Hetero

Regarding JB's comment about open mindedness. If you did a study on that, I'm reasonably sure that both liberals and a good percentage of science professionals would score quite high for LACK of open mindedness. This on the surface would seem contradictory for scientists as their stock in trade should be curiosity and learning. But I find them to be more close minded than say religious people. I can have a civil discussion about evolution vs intelligent design with a believer more often than with a scientist that believes in evolution. I think the total dismissal, and demonizing of people; including scientists that dont believe in man-made global warming, is another example of this close mindedness.

October 19, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKiara

So, appears to show that Tea Partiers peak in the same area as the "non-college educated" graph, though the uneducated group is more strongly represented in the lower half. Additionally, I have to wonder about the analysis of these data that so conveniently lends itself to the sensational soundbites that led me here.

October 19, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSkeptical

So. A note on the real purpose of the "Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act".

In 1913, the Congress delegated power that even it didn't have to 12 privately-owned "banks". The newly-created European-controlled U.S. Central Bank was used as the source of credit for Britain's (England's) land war on the European continent, with J.P. Morgan and Co. playing the Halliburton of WWI, providing billions (of 1913 dollars(!)) worth of war matériel to the British(English(Crown)) war effort. At a profit, of course. (Usury on the principal paid for by you, the taxpayer.)

Oh, boo-hoo, England was the victim? Not. The war was necessary to "derail" (pun!) Germany and other European nations' building of the Berlin-Baghdad railway, which would have bypassed Britain(England (The Crown))'s monopoly on the Suez Canal and round-Africa transport, and at least as importantly if not more, it would have returned petroleum from what is modern-day Iraq, to the German oil-fired Navy, which was starting to kick the British(English(Crown))'s rusting late 19th Century coal-fired navy in the butt.

Fortunately for the British(English(Crown)), they had made a secret treaty with the French, in which they would be "obligated" to lend their support in the case of France's involvement in hostilities. 3 months before Archduke Ferdinand was conveniently assassinated by an "anarchist" (the fin de siècle equivalent wooga-booga scare term for "terrorist" today), in Sarajevo, where the train just happened to go through, setting off a chain reaction of treaties and alliances bringing England into a land war on the Continent. Huzzah!

In 1929, the credit bubble created by the Fed, which brought on the "Roaring 20's", imploded, bringing on the "Great Depression". Of course, certain key actors got out ahead of time.

In 1933, on May 1 no less, it became a Felony for the average citizen to own gold coin. Just to belabor the obvious, May 1, "May Day", is the primary Communist holiday.

In 1934, FDR unilaterally revalues the "Dollar" from $20.67/troy oz. to $35/troy oz, creating an immediate 69.3% inflation on the value of the stolen gold. Said illegal confiscation of gold from citizens financed much of the "New Deal", and hampered any recovery until well after 1937.

In 1963, on Tuesday November 26th, the Fed made a press release announcing new $1 Federal Reserve "Notes", which no longer stated that they were "REDEEMABLE IN LAWFUL MONEY AT THE UNITED STATES TREASURY OR AT ANY FEDERAL RESERVE BANK". This was the day after JFK was buried at Arlington Cemetery. Doubtless most Americans were too preoccupied to notice the theft of which they had just become victim.

In 1964, LBJ unilaterally announced that coinage would no longer be silver. This is because the price of silver had gone up (or more correctly, the value of the ersatz "dollar" had gone down), making silver more expensive than its actual Dollar value of $1.292929+ per troy oz.

1965 -- Wooot! Not having to actually pay is going to allow us to both have Warfare Socialism (Opium War in Vietnam/Cambodia/Laos/Burma) but more Welfare Socialism, too -- Medicare!!!!

In 1968, the U.S. defaulted on its obligation that it would "PAY TO THE BEARER ON DEMAND [x] DOLLARS IN SILVER" on Silver Certificates issued before 1963.

In 1971, the U.S. unilaterally defaulted on its Bretton Woods obligation to redeem "U.S. Dollar" holdings in gold at the now statutory value of $42.67/troy oz.

In 1973, Henry Kissinger fooled both sides in the Israel/Egypt conflict into going to war against each other, driving up the price (among other things) of North Sea crude and making it actually profitable. (For this effort, he collected a Nobel Peace Prize. No more ignominious than those of Herr Obama, Al Gore, or Paul Krugman, I suppose.) Thus the "petrodollar" standard was born, with the post-Bretton Woods world's currency exchanges being manipulated by the manipulation of the price of oil, given that no more gold would be forthcoming from Fort Knox.

In 1979/1980, Paul Volcker (who was one of the lackeys, along with George Shultz, who told Nixon to default on the nation's gold obligations on August 15, 1971) as Fed Chairman, oversaw the raising of interest rates to the double digits to counteract the inevitable inflation of the now-unbacked U.S. "dollar". Too bad for the third world, who had taken on a raft of "development" loans from the World Bank and the IMF. They didn't read the fine print -- adjustable rate loans... Too bad, so sad. "But we're willing to work with you in exchange for your consideration in, say the UN, with respect to votes." Etc. Ugh.

In 2000, the internet bubble burst.

In 2008, the real estate bubble burst.

In 2011, the derivatives bubble quivers and shakes.

In 2013, the Treasury bubble is about to burst. Flash trading in U.S. Treasuries has begun, with the likes of Goldman Sachs and J.P. Morgan (hmm, again) engaging in a circle-jerk of price support.

The "carbon credit exchange" scam has failed to take off due to the fact that people have seen through the smoke and mirrors and chosen not to participate. (Did you see the story today about record arctic ice?)

So what is left? Healthcare "exchanges"!!! We've created unconstitutional currency, stolen the citizens' gold, stolen the citizens' silver, stiffed the rest of the world, can't monetize debt anymore, and can't monetize "pollution".

So we'll monetize...ILLNESS. The more people we can sign up, and the sicker we can make as many of them as possible through the destruction of the existing system, the more we'll able to skim off the "exchanges". AND, we'll make it unconstitutionally mandatory (even if we have to blackmail a Supreme Court Justice -- or Chief Justice). So we can create a national ID card for citizens and illegals alike. So we can round them up when the inevitable collapse happens. A whole lot of extra illegals will pump up the numbers greatly. (Ooh, did you see? George Soros is "flying in" people to pimp/bribe/strongarm/blackmail House Republicans into going along... Yay!)

I don't think these ACA exchanges are going to be as robust as the NYSE or the CME. Monetization of illness will fail. Utterly. Worse than "carbon credits". Given the abysmal (and as an IT professional familiar with large networks I can confidently say ABYSMAL) performance of the system thus far, this is an easy call.

Next stop -- read "When Money Dies".

October 19, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDB

Just so we're clear, most Tea Partiers I've met in person and online are not like DB (although the federal reserve is indeed not authorized in the Constitution, not that this fact stopped Hamiltonian central banks from being chartered in the first half-century after the Constitution was passed).

October 19, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterNate Fries

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